Primal Meal Extravaganza

Two of my coworkers have been doing the 21-Day Primal Challenge in January.  So to encourage them and to feed my need to be social, Tim and I hosted a Primal Meal on Saturday night.  We had 5 people over, and here was the menu:

Main course:

  • Garlic Pulled Pork
  • Beef Brisket – I used Mexican style chili powder, and instead of using sugar in the rub, I rubbed the brisket with honey and then rubbed the spice mixture into the meat on top of that.

Sides

Dessert

I have to say, we had a great time!  While we may have perhaps have drank more than was primally-friendly, we all enjoyed the food, companionship, and Nerf guns immensely.  The result was well worth the effort.  It also showed me that our house, with a little rearranging, can comfortably fit more than 2 people at a time.  Perhaps we don’t need to spend $150 – $200,000 on a new place so that we can entertain more!

Here are some pictures from the evening.

Here is our living room.  We pulled the church pews out of the breakfast nook and used them for seating in the living room.  They aren’t the most comfortable seating option, but they will do in a pinch (and it was much cheaper than buying a new loveseat, which we are also contemplating).  Also note the beautiful coffee table built and designed by the Benny Boo (my little bro).

 

Rearranged living room

Here’s a picture of the Love You Long Time Cupcakes.  My bananas were not quite ripe enough, so I added in some honey.  They turned out pretty tasty – not too sweet, but nice and moist.

photo (5)

photo (6) photo (7) photo (8)

photo (9)

Dangerous Paleo Treat

My coworker introduced me to this fantastic recipe:  Chocolate Coconut Bars.  He said they taste just like dark chocolate Mounds.  I have to say, he is correct, only I think these actually taste better!  They are super easy to make and dangerously delicious.  I think I could easily eat the whole pan.  Next time I make them, however, I’m going to double the chocolate for the topping and add a smidge more salt to the coconut mixture.  I’m afraid these alterations will make them even more delicious though.  Going forward I can only make these for company because I cannot be trusted around these things.  Sure, they are paleo, technically, but they have 1/4 cup of honey plus 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, so they have a lot of sugar/carbs in them.  But, boy.  Are they ever tasty!!

Tri Training

The Teeeemy Tee and I are signed up to do the Quad City Trathlon.   This will be Tim’s second tri and my first. I have never been a strong swimmer.  It took me 3 tries to pass Beginner’s Swimming.  Plus when I was little, I almost drowned in my grandpa’s pool.  Consequently, I have a lot of anxiety around being in the water, especially when my chest is below the water line.  BUT, I want to get over this fear, and I think that doing a triathlon at 36 will be a good way to celebrate rounding up to 40.

Tim and I hit the pool today for our second swim.  Tim promised that with each visit to the pool, I will get exponentially more comfortable in the water.  I have to say, he is right.  Today still sucked (I think I swam 18 laps, with rests, and then I did 4 or 6 laps with a water board), but it sucked less than it did a week ago.

What did I learn from today?

1.  Do NOT wear 3 inch heels the day before swimming.  Your feet and calves will cramp up something fierce.

2.  Do NOT attempt to put on super tight workout pants after getting out of  the pool, unless you are in possession of a jumbo-sized container of baby powder.

I’m going to try swimming at least 2 times/week.  Hopefully we can get some open-water swimming in before the event too.  From all accounts, swimming in a open body of water with thousands of other people intent on not drowning can be a fairly intimidating experience.

NY Resolutions – Day 5 Update

We’re five days into January, and I am proud to say that my resolutions are still in effect.  Don’t even say, “Heather, it’s only been 4 days.  Of course they are still in effect.”  January 1 is essentially a holiday, which in my mind means that you should be able to do whatever in the hell you want – including eating out at a nice restaurant, snacking on chocolate chip cookies, and drinking some nice whiskey or wine.  Well, I’m proud to say I did none of those things!

Here is a status update:

  1. Avoid ALL gluten (including no beer at all – no matter how delicious the concoctions at Great River sound).  Goal met!
  2. No alcohol except for social events (no drinking at home, in other words).  We had company yesterday, so I drank with them (it qualified as a “social event”).  I kind of wish I would not have, however.  I had 2 whiskey and waters and one cider (gluten fee).  My right wrist is killing me today – alcohol-inspired inflammation.  Bah.  But I kind of HAD to drink, as it was a key component of yesterday’s activity, “Drink and Draw 2013.”  My friend Michael and I got together to create some art.  We figured alcohol would get the creative juices flowing.  And it did!  Michael created three awesome sketches, and I did a sketch/pen drawing of Lucent and a pastel drawing of Link (of Zelda fame).  We had a very relaxing, fruitful afternoon, and it made me happy to see our living room covered in art supplies.  I even accidentally dyed my slippers with pastel dust when the box dumped out on them.  It was good times.
  3. Eat supper out only 1 time per week.  We are considering buying a new house or possibly even building a new house, so we are trying to save approximately $300/month before making any moves to prove that we can afford a higher house payment.  We figure this equates to about 2 meals out per week (2*$30 = $60 * 4 = $240).  Michael and I did eat out lunch yesterday, but I paid for it out of my personal account, which is not subject to this goal.  We ate supper at home.  We tried out the barbacoa again, which after being cut with a whole can of chicken broth is still insanely hot.  It’s no good on my Hlo tummy.  We have SO much left though.  I wonder if I freeze it, if it will calm down….
  4. Spend 30 minutes each day doing something creative – writing, painting, or reading (reading isn’t technically “creative,” but it is good for your brain, so I’m letting it count).  This goal has actually been keeping me  pretty happy over the past 4 days!  I’ve been reading a lot more.  I’m going to finish “Cloud Atlas” if it kills me. I wrote in my journal for the first time in a year, and I did the aforementioned art projects.  It’s very satisfying to produce something instead of consume something.  Speaking of which, I canceled my order for these awesome $135 LL Bean Boots.  I wanted new boots because my jeans don’t fit OVER my current boots, so I have to tight-roll them to get them INSIDE the boots, and that’s ugly and uncomfortable.  But, I figured I don’t really NEED new boots.  My current boots are cool and functional.  So instead I bought a pair of $20 skinny jeans that fit inside my boots. I never thought I’d get these hips in skinny jeans, but they don’t look too bad, and they saved me $115!

I hope your resolutions are sticking as well!  If you need some inspiration, check out this article, 50 Ways to Achieve Greatness In Your Life.  What I love about this list, is that a lot of the items deal with just improving yourself.  It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to do something grandiose and earth-shattering to be “successful.”  But, nope, you just have to improve yourself every day.  That will make the world around you a better place.  It’s an attainable goal that can still inspire you.  Here are some other thoughts from the list that I really love:

9. Don’t be jealous, be inspired.

10. When you’re talking to someone, listen to them very carefully as if that is the last time you’ll ever hear their voice again.

18. Challenge yourself everyday.

25. Learn everything you can to make yourself better.  To be a better provider.  To be a better man.

31. Progress, not perfection.  Stop beating yourself up for not being perfect and focus on small changes that make you 1% better everyday.

45. Remember, the most important things in life don’t cost any money. Love, friendship, hope, respect, dignity, character…

Good stuff!! 🙂

Hotter than Hell Barbacoa

Perhaps Tim and I are pantywaists, but I made this recipe tonight, Leftovers: Barbacoa, and our mouths are STILL on fire.  I super appreciate Juli posting recipes free on her blog, so I’m hesitant to express any dissatisfaction, but holy hell!  This barbacoa was SOOOO spicy.  AND.  AND.  I used an extra pound of meat, above what was called for in the recipe!

I should have remembered that Juli likes her food spicy.  I made something else from her, and Tim and I had to cut it down with several extra cans of tomatoes to tame it down.  I think if I cut down the spices by at least half, it would still be plenty spicy.

We now have about 3 lbs of ultra-spicy barbacoa marinating in fridge.  I’m hoping that overnight the flavors will mellow, and it will be all kinds of delicious in the morning.  Tim and I are trying to save about $300/month out of our food budget, so we can’t afford to NOT eat this.

Tonight we ate it over baked sweet potatoes.  I think we’re going to try it with eggs and then maybe over spaghetti squash.  Wish us luck!